Blow Up Theatre, Somebody To Love British Festival of Visual Theatre,

Review in Issue 11-4 | Winter 1999

This young Lecoq-trained company exhibit skill, humour and plenty of energy in a production which calls both for finely tuned characterisations and an ability to move between the ordinary and surreal. However, while the performances are strong, the storyline is rather obvious and much of the direction is predictable – relying too often on set-piece mime exercises: two anglers get their fishing lines tangled, a man is frustrated in his attempt to commit suicide by a variety of domestic objects. In addition, the staging is awkward with over-long, over-complicated set changes which don’t seem necessary.

The narrative explores themes of love and betrayal through the relationships between three lonely and absurd ‘outsiders’. Its comic effect depends on revealing the humanity beneath apparent caricature, on generating real sympathy for characters who are (on the surface) the epitome of unattractiveness. The performers wear half masks and the story is told through physical action; speech being used as little as possible. This technique succeeds up to a point, but there are moments when the movement becomes illustrative, or else descends into farce. I got the impression that the company do not trust the audience to grasp implicit meaning or to get involved beyond the level of the slapstick.

Blow Up are a company with the potential to challenge and extend the boundaries of mime and mask work if they can build more imaginatively on their evident skill and understanding of the genre.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-4
p. 21